As we age, write ILC UK, most of us are likely to need to adapt our homes to make them easier for us to navigate. Simple adaptations to the home can keep us independent for longer. Grab rails, for example, reduce the likelihood of falling over in the bathroom.
People with disabilities can benefit from VAT-free building work to adapt their homes to make them easier. Older and disabled people can ask their local authorities to assess their homes and see what adaptations they need. And the Disabled Facilities Grant helps towards the costs of making changes to an individual’s home so they can continue to live there.
Yet there is little support, advice or incentives to encourage people to buy preventative home adaptations for younger people. Wouldn’t it be great if we installed the grab rail before we fall over rather than after? Encouraging us all to adapt our homes won’t necessarily help all of us live at home independently for longer. But it could save money, after all, falls alone are estimated to cost the NHS more than £2.3 billion per year.
Reducing or removing VAT on preventative kitchen and bathroom adaptations could help encourage us all to make changes sooner rather than later. And might mean these products become more mainstream and more attractive.
What do you think? Over the next few months, ILC UK wants to highlight examples of policy and practice which could help us adapt to increased longevity. We will collate ideas into a plan for the next Government and launch it at our Future of Ageing Conference on 7 December 2023.
So, what do you think of this solution? Do you have different or better ideas? Let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org